Beyond the Farm: How Podcasting with a Kid Awakens My Spirit of Curiosity
By Angela Becerra Vidergar
It’s no secret that I love radio and podcasts. My love of listening to podcasts in the car, however, is sometimes thwarted by the presence of the children in my life, for whom many of my favorite podcasts are not appropriate for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, in the past couple of years there has been an upsurge in the number of quality podcasts made for children or all-ages audiences. Now my 8-year-old son William and I have several favorites that we regularly enjoy together, with themes that include storytelling, radio dramas, science, and history. Some of our go-to podcasts include Stories Podcast, featuring original stories, songs, and retellings, radio drama This Podcast Has Fleas, and the history podcast The Past and the Curious. They make us laugh, help us learn all kinds of cool things, and occasionally allow us to discuss difficult topics.
What I love best is that they have inspired William to recreate some of the shows during playtime at home. For example, he once set up a series of animal debate face-offs with us based on the format of the kids’ debate podcast Smash Boom Best. That show highlights research, rhetorical strategy, and presentation skills during a fun multi-stage competition judged by a different kid each episode.
Recently William and I took this inspiration to the next level and decided to create our own all-ages podcast, tentatively titled Curiosity Corner. The main theme is inspired by William’s own insatiable curiosity; he is a born researcher who exhaustively learns (and talks about) whatever it is he cares about at that given moment. In Curiosity Corner, we introduce a thing we want to know more about, such as astronauts, secret hideouts, or penguins, and find out more about it through kid book reviews, interviews with librarians, asking experts, and talking to people about their opinions.
I had a great conversation with colleagues during September Sessions when I shared this project over lunch and realized, to all of our delights, that I was basically describing “PWR for kids”: identifying a topic of interest, searching for sources, asking experts, conducting field research, and emphasizing the value of living a life of inquiry and curiosity. Our first episode, “Detectives,” is already scripted, and for a regular segment William titled “Know About Nature,” I interviewed our colleague Dr. Jennifer Stonaker about “science detectives.” We also have a regular segment called “Ask a Big, Ask a Little,” which is a type of “person-on-the-street” survey in which we ask a question of both adults and children and anonymously share recordings of what they answered.
If you and/or the littles in your life would like to participate in our podcast, whether in small or more significant ways, we wholeheartedly invite you to let us know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, we stil hope you can enjoy listening to it and passing it on when we release our first episodes in the coming months. Meanwhile, let’s all find ways to remember our childhood curiosity and how it informs the work we do here in PWR!